1 lakh private school teachers face unemployment

Government decision to defer exams proves costly as institutes shutting operations till March

As the state government has decided to defer annual exams to March next year, the fate of one lakh teachers and employees working in private educational institutions across Kashmir hangs in balance as most of the schools have decided to close their operations till the time exams are held.
In Kashmir province, more than 3200 private schools including higher secondary educational institutions are operating, which employ more than 1 lakh educated youth.
The state government has decided to hold annual exams in March as the floods that hit Kashmir in early September damaged the structures of many schools which were declared unfit for students.
Scores of private school teachers who talked to Greater Kashmir stated that management of most of the private schools have asked their staff that they won’t get salary from November to March as school will remain closed during that period.
They said unlike government teachers who will continue to draw their salaries whether they attend schools or not, private teachers have to face the brunt of government’s decision which has created anxiety among them.
Muhammad Ashraf, a teacher working in a private school in Rajbagh area, said that the decision of government to defer examinations to March has hit their livelihood.
“Our school owner categorically told us that he won’t pay us salary from November to March as during that period schools will remain closed due to winter break. Now in this situation what would we do as we have no other source of livelihood,” he said adding that government should not have taken the decision to defer exams in haste as the move has jeopardized the future of thousands of teachers and employees working in private educational institutions.
As per earlier practice, the annual exams were held in the month of November and class work for new classes would also start in the same month. Then from December winter vacation were announced, however during vacations schools teachers used to receive salaries even though school used to remain closed.
Sadaf, a private school teacher whose house was damaged due to floods, said teachers working in private schools usually belong to lower strata of income group.
“And government by closing the schools till March has aggravated the problems of private employees who won’t be paid during the period schools remain closed,” she said.
The private school teachers and employees urged the state government to rethink on their decision of postponing exams till March as the move has put in jeopardy the future of thousands of educated youth who used to earn livelihood by working in private institutes across the state.
General Secretary, Private Schools United Front (PSUF), G. N Var told Greater Kashmir that government has taken the decision of postponing exams in haste without consulting stakeholders. “It is unfortunate decision that has rendered thousands of people unemployed.”
“Employees working in private schools will be jobless for the time institutes remain closed, but what can we do. Private schools cannot ask for fee from students who had already completed their syllabus,” he said, adding that private schools owners are themselves incurring losses.
Var adds that government should re-think on the decision of holding exams in March otherwise it would create problems not only for students but people affiliated with private institutions will also suffer badly.
Managing Director, Crescent Public School, Er. Shahid Ahmad opined that private school management should work on some sort of arrangements so that their employees will get salary during winter months.
“The decision of government to postpone examinations was least expected at this time, but now I believe state government should continue with March session for coming time,” he said.
To mention, the recent floods have caused massive damage of around Rs 4000 crores to private educational institutes in Kashmir division.

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